Saturday, January 24, 2015

JOHN WICK (2014)

Directed By: David Leitch & Chad Stahelski 
Written By: Derek Kolstad 
Cinematography By: Jonathan Sela 
Editor: Elisabet Ronaldsdottir 

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Adrianne Palicki, Michael Nyqvist, Bridget Moynihan Clarke Peters, Ian McShane, Dean Winters, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe, Alfie Allen, Lance Reddick, Daniel Bernhardt, Thomas Sadowski, Kevin Nash, Randall Duk Kim

John Wick is a mob hit man who, upon falling in love, quits. 5 years later, his wife dies and to make sure he's not alone she arranges for a dog to be brought to him after her death. Later, some men wanting his car break in and beat him up and kill his dog. When he recovers, he sets to get the ones who killed his dog. He learns that the leader is the son of his former employer. And the man wanting to protect his son, tries to take care of Wick but he's still as good as he was.

Though an impressive action film. It is also a pretty basic one when it comes to the action sequences. What truly sets it apart are a few factors.

One, the action scenes are done with such excitement and energy that they become infectious and you can't help but find yourself getting into them even if you know the end result.

The film chooses to bathe itself. In it's ridiculous premise, that it's not a spoof bit more of an appreciation of the genre it is in. While providing a logical though thoroughly stretched plot narrative. So much so that The film gets so ridiculous at times that it almost seems like a witty parody of itself that would be seen on THE SIMPSONS.

It also offers plenty of character actors chewing scenery and being cool all the while barely breaking a sweat and their presence gives the film more leverage and respectability then it might deserve.

Now over the years I have watched Keanu Reeves in films and while he isn't the best actor usually. You get a sense that even he knows that but at least he is trying and putting up an effort with what he has. So that watching him he is instantly likeable and easy to watch. Plus these days he tends to stick to more action and genre films so he doesn't try too hard to show range or depth he might know he doesn't have as a performer. Though he is an energetic performer and fun to watch.

According to Keanu Reeves, he did 90% of his own stunts in the film. He also learned and memorized the nightclub fight sequence the day that the scene was filmed.

It's nice to see him in better films then usual and nice to see him back in the big screen. Not that he was necessarily missing I just tended to avoid his last few films as they didn't look that great. So for me it's nice to see him again at least in something of quality and enjoyable.

As he is actor who can be cast in any genre he has found the most success in fantasy and science fiction which seems to be a nice niche for him as he has dabbled in other genres yet never found that right fit anywhere else. He seems motivated and goes through the paces to build himself back up. -

If you are an action fan this film is definitely for you as it seems to breathe some life into a genre that has become so common. It has been aching for a new dynamic or at least to be made fresh from the stale offerings that kept coming. While Chad Stehelski is the credited director and David Leitch is the credited producer (due to DGA and PGA regulations), the two produced and directed together as a team.

The film reunites actors Keanu Reeves, Daniel Bernhardt, Randall Duk Kim along with directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, all of whom were involved in The Matrix Trilogy. Also Marilyn Manson who is on this films and THE MATRIX soundtracks.

The film is stylish, sharp but isn't afraid to go dark and Nasty in it's attitude.

I can't help but feel this film has a close fondness to the straight to dvd action films and cable of the 90's only with bigger stars and budget.

Though I will be quite honest from the praise the film got from Audiences I was expecting something better and more impressive. At first I was disappointed but as the film goes along I believe you will find yourself more and more intrigued and entertained.

This film seems to prove the saying honor among thieves and if not there is a price to pay. We understand the villains motives even as he seems to go off the deep end by the end.

I only wish throughout the film he would have found more of a match for his skills to pose a real challenge. Though at least in his film he was allowed some surprises and wasn't invulnerable as say Denzel Washington as THE EQUALIZER. Though both films are with watching as fun rides.

Grade: B-

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